Advanced treatments have improved the prognosis of cancer survivors. Anticancer drugs generate large amounts of cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), but their direct effects on sperm ROS production are unclear. We examined 64 semen samples of men who had received cancer chemotherapy, 467 semen samples of men consulting for idiopathic infertility, and 402 semen samples of partners of female patients as a control group. ROS production was calculated as the integrated chemiluminescence between 0 and 200 seconds after the addition of luminol to unwashed semen. We found that their ROS-positive rate of semen samples in the chemotherapy group was significantly higher than that in the control group. We compared the sperm parameters (concentration and motility) and the ROS production levels between chemotherapy subgroups and one of the remaining subgroups with positive ROS, and we found that only sperm motility was significantly lower in the samples in the postchemotherapy subgroup than in the idiopathic infertility subgroup, and that both sperm parameters were significantly lower in those from postchemotherapy subgroup than in the control subgroup. The ROS production level per million spermatozoa in the postchemotherapy subgroup was significantly higher than that in the control subgroup. Additionally, we compared variables, such as age, sperm features, and the duration from the end of the treatment to the first consultation between ROS-positive and ROS-negative subgroups in samples from men in the postchemotherapy group, but we found no significant differences. Of the men in the postchemotherapy group, three underwent a long-term antioxidant therapy, and all of them had low ROS semen levels after that. In conclusion, the production of ROS in semen detected by chemiluminescence from men who undergo cancer chemotherapy is similar to that of men with idiopathic infertility, and long-term oral antioxidant therapy may reduce the amount of ROS in the semen.
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